Note: As a point of clarification, the commonly used term in behavioral and developmental health to refer to a person who leaves a person’s care or a safe area is “elopement.” Unless stated in a direct quote, WYDaily will use the term “elopement” instead of “escape” in reference to this case.
RICHMOND — On Thursday, April 22 at 8:53 p.m., Sgt. Michelle Anaya, spokesperson for the Virginia State Police (VSP), issued the following statement regarding the department’s role in helping to locate a patient that eloped from Eastern State Hospital on April 20:
“[The] Virginia State Police was notified [by Eastern State Hospital] of a patient that had escaped and assistance was needed in searching the grounds and surrounding areas. VSP provided K-9 support for tracking and was unsuccessful.
Virginia State Police has no investigation into this incident. The incident is being handled by the [Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS)].”
On Tuesday, April 20 at approximately 4:00 a.m., it was discovered that a patient eloped from Eastern State Hospital. After contacting VSP and other departments in adjacent localities, the patient was unable to be located. As of 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, the whereabouts of the patient are still unknown.
Also on Thursday, April 22, Meghan McGuire, spokesperson for Eastern State Hospital, said, “DBHDS does not have the capability to conduct searches if there is an elopement. Our process is to complete warrants and provide VSP and/or other jurisdictions with any helpful information.”
At this time, it is uncertain if there is an active investigation to ascertain the whereabouts of the patient or if any department is actively looking.